The last shabbang: 360 tour of San Cristóbal.
Part 10 of the series “Honeymoon in Galápagos : Two mates, island hopping, on a budget.”
By one of the many, but probably more thrifty, Andrew Currie’s of this world.
It has been said that teaching is more of a way of life than a profession. I hope that by reading about my journey through the Galápagos you have learned a thing or two about things to do and ways to do it on the cheap. This post will be no exception.
1. It is well worth paying whatever price you can negotiate to do the 360 tour of San Cristóbal.
This tour only operates through certain companies as they need a certain “fishing license” to take guests. We were told by our hostel receptionist that would should be able to get this tour for U$120 but the lowest we could negotiate the price to, with wetsuit included, was U$145. Some agencies tried to sell us tours to Kicker Rock for U$100 and Punta Pit for U$140 on separate days, but none of these operators could do it all in one day as can be done on the 360 tour. So, due to the fact that we had one day left in the Galápagos AND we like saving close to U$100 any day of the week, we decided to book with Fan dive.
2. Understand that Ecuadorian time is a real thing.
Rafael, who sold us our tours, promised to meet us at the shop at 7:20 am to give us our snorkeling gear and wetsuits. So, the fact that he turned up at 7:40 am when our boat was supposed to be leaving 7:30 am sent my tired and hungover mind into a crazed panic. Luckily, Alex was on hand to deal with the waiting while I went to ensure that the boat wouldn’t leave without us. Now, I wasn’t there but apparently Rafael’s response to a question of his punctuality was a brief shrug of the shoulders and a thrust of said gear into Alex’s mid section… If you can handle this type of service, go with Fan Dive.
3. ENSURE that all equipment is included in the price and that you check your gear bag the night before.
It goes without saying that the three Aussies who arrived at the first snorkeling spot to find that they would need to share one set of snorkeling gear between them were unimpressed. However, by this stage there was nothing that could be done except for offer our gear when we weren’t using it.
4. Don’t go out drinking the night before.
This trip is waaaaaaaaaaay too good to be spending the snorkel at kicker rock and the hour boat ride back to the port clenching so hard that you are sweating bullets and not appreciating your mates jokes due to the agony you are feeling. So have a quiet one the night before…. That’s a command!
Ok, so that’s the tips done… What was the trip like?
Leg 1 — A 45 minute to one hour boat ride takes you to the first snorkel spot. From an alabaster sand beach, in which my naked body would be well camouflaged, you wander over some sharp rocks to a 20 m diameter pool that leads out to a bay. When we first arrived these bodies of water were disconnected due to the low tide and there was a sea turtle cutting laps of the pool at 100 times the speed you would see it walking on land. Upon investigation with snorkel equipment, there were also white tipped reef sharks and fish sharing this same small space.
As the tide began to come in, the pool and the bay started to slowly connect. Sea life waited patiently on both sides for a change of scenery and once the tide was high enough they crossed in and out with ease.
Leg 2 — After an hour orso marveling at these magnificent creatures we made our way again over sharp rocks to find some playful sea lions. We swam within touching distance as they clapped their fore flippers in our faces before darting off in a game of sea lion tag.
Leg 3 — After the game had lost its appeal for our new friends, we continued around the coast In an anti clockwise fashion to the bird lovers haven, Punta Pitt.
Here we saw three types of boobies, the nazca and the red and blue footed varieties, as well as frigate birds and others that this novice bird watcher could not identify in amongst the flocks that surrounded a rocky outcrop like flies to landfill.
Leg 4 — We left this amazing site of activity after a brilliant lunch of rice, fish and salad supplied by the boat, and made our way to a lava tunnel site. The patterns in the lava flow were very pretty and for the brave souls amongst you, it is possible to go deep into a lava tunnel. If you are claustrophobic or find it difficult to maneuver on sharp rocks take it slow. Also, make sure that your guide knows the way as ours told us that we could continue forward and emerge without regressing but this was not the case.
Leg 5 — León Dormido or Kicker Rock was our final snorkel of the day. Here, we were told that there was potential for us to see hammerhead sharks but instead we had to settle for an abundance of fish evenly spaced and drifting effortlessly in the deep blue waters of this 30 — 40m canyon between two giant rocks. We also saw 1.5 — 2 m Galápagos sharks and eagle rays which flapped underneath me within touching distance. Now, I needed to go the toilet with greater urgency than I can remember in recent times, so to say that this was the greatest snorkeling experience of my life, I feel is really saying something.
Leg 6 — return to the port by 4:30 pm, which Emily from Minisota and her fiancé, both lovers of fishing, were a bit miffed about as they had been sold a trip that would return at 5:30 pm after a spot of angling. However, they still both really enjoyed the experience, as will you when you DO THIS TRIP!
(3 points/Total Points 240)
This concludes the Honeymoon in Galápagos series. If you have enjoyed any of these posts or got a good travel tip from them please press the recommend button. Also, if you have any questions about any of the content please get in touch.